Recently, when my father and I went out to eat, by sheer accident we discovered the best Mexican food on this side of the lake, and possibly in the state.
My father and I had just come from seeing a movie, and wanted to go get something to eat. We wanted something close because it was getting late, so we crossed the highway, planning on getting Tchoupstix, but were distracted by a extremely colorful restaurant called Habanero’s two doors over that I had never seen before. So, we walked over to check it out. It was a cold night so we decided to sit at an inside table, and when we walked in, we were immediately greeted by welcoming smiles.
After eating, my father and I alike concluded that Habanero’s was the best Mexican restaurant on the north shore. It’s across the street from Target, located at 69305 Hwy. 21, Covington, La., and was established in 2014. The inside of Habanero’s is a colorful, well-lighted, small area that smells of freshly toasted corn tortillas. Our waiter was the nephew of the owner, and was a well-dressed man who was very polite, and good with conversation (but not too overbearing). He immediately grabbed our drinks, chips, and salsa while we looked over the menu. When he came back, we were surprised to see that the chips were multicolored, matching the alluring facade of the building. The salsa looked delicious, and looks were not deceiving because it was a perfect combination of smoky, spicy, and garlic-infused. The menu was like something I had never seen before, distinguishing itself as the closest thing on the north shore to real authentic Mexican food. Sitting there, we really didn’t know what to get. It all looked good, so we asked the waiter for suggestions.
“I suggest for the young man, the Playeros,” the waiter said to my dad, “and for you, the Numbereros.”
So, taking the waiter’s word, we ordered just that. While we were waiting for our food, my dad ordered a margarita, swearing it to be the best he’s ever had. The owner soon came out and greeted us for coming to Habanero’s, and we were both curious about the origins of this restaurant.
He began to tell us his family history, explaining that they are originally from Mexico, but his parents moved to Atlanta, Ga., before he was born. He loved the air in Louisiana when traveling here, and his uncle had previously owned Mexican restaurants in the St. Tammany area. He also noticed the excess amount of Tex-Mex style restaurants and the lack of real authentic Mexican establishments, so he decided to move from Atlanta and pursue opening a restaurant. He also loved our spicy Cajun culture, believing it could handle his spicy Mexican culture. As he finished his history, the food came out. It looked absolutely delicious, and the first thing I noticed was the colorful green corn tortillas and the steamy chicken tortilla soup.
I picked up one of the beautiful blue-green tortillas, and it smelled of bacon and chipotle peppers. As I took my first bite, all the flavors exploded out of it. I got a bite of the shrimp, and a small bite of the bacon-wrapped cream-cheese-stuffed jalapeños. The bacon and cream cheese created the perfect combination of crispy and creamy. Next, I tried the tortilla soup, and it was outstandingly cheesy with fresh fried tortilla strips on top and a deep, smoky flavor. Furthermore, the excess of everything made the food over-the-top good.
If you are looking for a new Mexican restaurant, I highly suggest Habanero’s as your choice. Good food, good service, good people, and good atmosphere combine to make this restaurant the best on the north shore.